These are a collection of my thoughts, and really, a diary of my research - I don't intend to write here every day, but hopefully once I get into the swing of it maybe once a week.
Yesterday, myself and Emma Simpson ran our first of two workshops in a new local restaurant and takeaway in Sandyford called Harissa. Emma has been doing some great work in Elswick, looking at social inequalities around access to healthy foods, and we wanted to use some of this incredibly rich and complex data to investigate new digital opportunities for restaurants to engage with and create bespoke 'food offers' to communities.
It's been a really long time since I last updated my website. And, rather shamefully I haven't even got around to adding new publications to the site as they come along - including one ACM DIS 2012 best paper and two ACM CHI 2013 honorable mentions since I last updated the site - so it's certainly been worth doing. I've also started to add brief entries of all the projects I've been involved with recently, but not even half way there yet! But, having started refreshing the site has helped me to reflect a little on the patterns of research that crop up in my work.
I have a PhD studentship available to someone interested in doing interaction design work investigating the role for digital technologies in supporting play within a children's hospital. We have a hospital interested in collaborating with us, so this is a real opportunity to do some wonderfully applied work that could make a real difference to children's experiences of staying in hospital. Take a look at: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding/search/list/cs026 to find out how to apply. The deadline is May 8th 2012 so get in contact with me if you have any questions!
So, I'm back from CHI 2011 and an extended weekend in Vancouver. A very intense week divided between preparing and giving two presentations whilst also trying to attend panels and talks within the conference. The weekend before the main conference I attended the "HCI, Politics and the City" workshop. It was probably the most fun workshop I have ever attended, and I particularly enjoyed the effort made to get us HCI researchers out talking and working with activist groups around Vancouver. The group I was in went for a cycle ride around Vancouver whilst also getting to know members of the Velopalozza group. I think it was the perfect mixture of fun with work. We were tasked with exploring how technology might better help the group recruit people to both organise cycle rides, as well as participate in cycle rides. I'm not sure that we fully satisified the needs of our clients, but nevertheless it was certainly a thought-provoking couple of days.
Over the last few days myself and a PhD student from Southampton University have been in Rome and Portus doing fieldwork. Now, let me be clear, sacrifices have been made for us to be here. We had to take the 07:00 flight from Gatwick, and we have worked over two British bank holidays, so don't go thinking this is a jolly.
It's a bit of a funny time at the moment. I've recently had some sad family news and I can't help but feel a little distracted from work. Memories of my Grandparents, who both died in the last week, pop into my mind at inopportune moments. Occasionally tears prick my eyes. Work beckons.
I've not got too much time today, as I'm off to see a talk at Northumbria University. Today has been a bit choppy. I started the day as usual with a cycle ride dodging cows, and then checking through email. One email caused me a little excitment, and forked my day a little.
So, today sees a new dawn in my blogging behaviour - or it should if I actually stick to it. Last week we had two very productive meetings for the PATINA project. The more we talked about the experience of doing research, the more I started to think that it would be useful to keep some sort of diary tracking my experience of doing academic research on a daily basis. I'm going to try and be honest about life as an academic researcher. I'm going to try and focus on more than what I have done in a day, looking to also reflect on my experiences of doing research at a British university. Here goes!
I’ve been reading “The Ethnographic 1: A Methodological Novel about Autoenthnography” by Carolyn Ellis, and it has on some levels really resonated with me, and the way I feel about research, particularly with regard to the project I am currently working on.
Over the last few weeks I've been working up a study design to explore shyness in higher education. What I have found surprising is that it seems that very little research has looked at shyness in higher education learning interactions (with the exception of Psychologists like Ray Crozier). Yet, when I think about higher education, I think about the importance placed on students around constructing their own knowledge and contributing to discussion and debate, and therefore the extent to which students need to be comfortable to express opinions that others may not agree with, and sometimes be seen making mistakes. These sorts of interactions can be thought of as shyness invoking - they place students in a position where judgements can easily be made about themselves as individuals (i.e. their ability, their intelligence, their personality).